Bride to Be Diaries: The Sporty Bride is having Wedding Dress Isues

Hello you lovely lot

We are very happy to have our gorgeous Sporty Bride back for her second instalment, and this time, she is having wedding dress issues!

Find out why, over to you Natalie….

B2B Sporty Banner

Sporty Couple July


The athletic figure vs the wedding dress!

Hello all!

So…with 397 days to go it’s getting closer to the 12 months-to-go mark. Having booked my wedding two years before the date to give myself time to pay for it there have been times it has certainly seemed impossibly far away. I can’t wait to get to that ‘Year to go!’ milestone. It’ll certainly help H2B get more excited as it’s just to far in the future for his attention span! I’ve also booked a lot of my vendors and small details well in advance. Too organised one might say!

Sporty 397 Days

At least I’ve had the rugby, a holiday and a trip to California to keep me occupied…

Sporty Holiday July

Buying the dress was one of the activities I was most excited about. Being sporty and a bit tomboy-ish means that I don’t always feel all that feminine. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my mam and closest family in the ultimate girly experience (up to this point in my life at least)- buying my wedding dress!

In my head I imagined walking into a dress shop, being treated like a princess and leaving with the perfect dress. As usual though… it wasn’t all plain sailing!

The first dress shop we popped into was more of a exploratory mission- it was off the cuff on a Sunday afternoon in Cardiff…no appointment. It was lovely to try on some beautiful dresses and I found that what I thought I wanted was really nothing like I expected!

Being tall and slim; I had an image in my mind of a slim fit dress. Most of friends and family would say that’s what they saw me in. However, when trying on these dresses I found they didn’t suit my ‘pear’ shape created by my small waist and broad hips (If I hear the term ‘child-baring hips’ one more time….). I was convinced by my mother to try on a ‘princess style dress’ and funnily enough the way the dress style sat on my hips really emphasized my waist and made me feel less self-conscious about my wide hips. It was a revelation! Still nothing I tried on there really made me feel like it was the dress. The dress assistant was really friendly and even though we had made it clear we didn’t want to buy anything that day she was really helpful and patient.

A few weeks later, I saw an advert on facebook for a dress shop near to where I live in Swansea. I booked an evening appointment and went with my Mam and Auntie. Cue the beginning of a painful experience. The shop assistant asked me to go around and pick out the dresses I liked. I didn’t really know what I was looking for and found this really difficult. I asked for some help and was told that she wouldn’t know what I liked so ‘how could she possibly pick anything for me?’. Luckily my mam is quite good at diffusing awkward silences and jumped in to help me choose some pretty dresses. Everything I tried on was a disaster. Whilst everything looked beautiful on the hanger it really didn’t suit me at all. The shop assistant tutted (yes she did!) at everything I wore and even commented on my ‘boxy’ figure and how not many dresses would suit me. In fact, the only dress she went into raptures over was one of her own design- funnily enough- until I asked if I could have a different lace…she wasn’t impressed.

I left feeling pretty unconfident about ever finding a dress that gave me that feeling and made me feel less ‘boxy’. I had no idea what would suit me. It put me off looking and I took a break for a couple of months.

Cue Sharon and Tracey at Wedding Belles in Pyle, Bridgend. My auntie recommended I go because that was where she had got her wedding dress.

Sporty Wedding Belles

My mam, auntie and mother in law to be came along for moral support. The ladies there instantly put me at ease by suggesting dress styles they thought would suit my figure and pulling out some dresses for me to look at. Nothing was too much trouble. The best piece of advice they gave me was to throw away all my pre-conceptions and just try things on. So I did! Though I had begun nervously, by fifteen minutes in I was starting to feel excited and special- like a bride! My mam carefully combed the rails and picked out her favourites and I was happy to let her do so. Mother’s know best they say…

Sporty July And she certainly did. It was about the 18th dress I had tried on that day but as soon as I put it on I loved everything about it. The neckline, the skirt, the back. It made me feel beautiful and all the things I thought I wouldn’t feel. It was the one! I’ve recently been back to see it when my order came in and I’m so pleased with it still.

The biggest things I have learned so far;

  1. Picking out my groom’s suit was easy because he was so sure of what he wanted (For once).
  2. I have absolutely no clue what 90% of fashion terms mean. I always thought ‘boning’ meant something completely different…
  3. Having an athletic figure does not mean you won’t look absolutely beautiful in the right dress. Sporty girls can be girly too!
  4. Customer service isn’t always the priority in some wedding shops but is key to the experience.

In summary, to those of you about to buy your big day dresses. I do recommend going to multiple shops but thoroughly researching what others have said to avoid bad experiences. Don’t go too late just in case you don’t find your dream dress right away. Most of all, leave all your preconceptions at the door and be open minded!

To those about to shop, I salute you!

Speak Soon,

Natalie x

Bride to Be Diaries: Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Good morning one and all!

Sweating enough!? Sheesh its a hot one this week, not that we are complaining particularly, just wishing the UK was a little more equipped with air con and ceiling fans!

So its time for our gorgeous Natasha, aka The Procrastinating Bride, to let us know how her planning is going in her second instalment.  And considering her moniker, she appears to feel on top of things…

B2B Procrastinating Banner

Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Tash1Hey, Cwtchers!

Hope you’ve been enjoying the glorious sunshine we’ve been having. I can’t believe that this time last year, Steve proposed! He came home with a bunch of beautiful lilies last week for our engage-iversary (we didn’t actually celebrate this by the way) and it suddenly dawned on me that there are less than 6 months until our wedding, eeek!

PB lillies

Now, considering I’m the Procrastinating Bride, a lot of things seem to be sorted. I say a lot of things, we’re talking on Tash terms here. By a lot of things, I mean the venue, the dress, and we’ve almost come to a decision on food. (We’re both foodies so narrowing our choices down needed a lot of thought.)

If you’re an organised bride, you’re probably thinking that I’ve only scratched the surface with planning but, in my head, we’re on top of things.

PB wedding planner

So, what did we do first?

We booked our venue pretty quickly. My mum and I were browsing at venues online a few weeks after Steve and I got engaged; admittedly, I wasn’t really looking properly because it seemed like early days, but there was one venue that stood out from all the others. It happened to be holding a showcase event the following week so Steve, my parents and I decided go along. We loved it and so it was decided that we’d get married at Oldwalls: the first and only venue we went to see.

As I said earlier, Steve and I are foodies so it only made sense for us to go to a cake tasting session. I was in my element. Not that I ever need an excuse to eat cake but, when it’s part of the planning process, wedding planning instantly becomes more appealing when cake is involved. Particularly when you’re not a planner anyway.

We stuffed our faces with a range of delicious favours, including chocolate and salted caramel Italian buttercream, and around two hours later, we rolled away with full stomachs and happy hearts. To all couples getting married: cake tasting is an experience not to be missed, even if you just come away from it with ideas.

PB cake tasting

I came across Cakes by Katy at Cwtchfest. Go along to the next one if you can; it’s worth it and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Cwtch Girl!

Next: the dress. I won’t share details of my dress on here for obvious reasons but, Laura May Bridal on Cardiff’s Crwys Road and Allison Jayne in Swansea are two shops that I’d recommended to any bride who hasn’t yet found ‘the dress’.

Not only were the dresses beautiful, the overall experience at both stores couldn’t have gone any better. When you’re trying on a dress, the last thing you want is to feel rushed or under pressure to make a decision and I can honestly say that Laura May and Allison Jayne did not even come to close to making me feel this way. I tried on my first ever wedding dress in Laura May, an Enzoani number, and remember feeling how surreal it was to be trying on wedding dresses!

That’s all from me for now. We’ve got our 6-month meeting with Oldwalls next week, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to update you on next time!

Happy planning to all brides and all grooms! If all else fails, eat cake.

The Procrastinating Bride xxx

Bride To Be Diaries: Spring Bride Ali Does All Or Nothing

Our Spring Bride Ali tells us about all the life adventures she has planned as well as planning a wedding! There is nothing like doing all at everything at once.

B2B Spring BannerOur Spring Bride Ali

spring bride profile

All Or Nothing

Ladies, how are we?

Where do I begin?

Weddings, are, stressful. Fact.
Tell you what’s more stressful?
Thinking it’s a good idea to change jobs, plan a wedding and sell and buy a new house all in the same 6 months.
Yeah. So, our lives have become even crazier recently.
Photo 15-07-2016, 17 40 26
We decided at the beginning of the month to look in to the Help To Buy Wales scheme and a New Build property near our current house. At first, it was purely out of interest. We wondered how much it would cost, and how far in the future a move could be realistic.
It turned out it was doable, well, now.
So of course, we decided to go for it.
So, our house sold for the full asking price after a week on the market, the mortgage for the new house is agreed, and the house will be ready in January… just under 3 months before I Do’s. As if moving house isn’t stressful enough.
But, it is ridiculously exciting. And I need to remind myself of that.
Photo 10-08-2016, 10 23 24
Also, I decided a few months back to start focusing on looking for a new job, as the commute to my current base is slowly driving me insane. Anyone who’s ever done the West to East or vice versa will know how mind numbing and soul destroying that stretch of the M4 is.
I applied for the perfect role, much closer to home, and am overjoyed to have been offered the job. Super exciting. Of course that meant a hoohah with the new mortgage. It is all sorted now but it was a bit manic.
Again, changing jobs is quite stressful in its self….
Wedding things… I did have all in hand. And I felt much more on top of it all when it was the only thing I was dealing with.
Finding it a little more difficult now that the house and the job are factors too!
I managed to get a little crafting done!
I’ve made out guest book frame…
Had a play about with calligraphy for our place cards…
We’re booked in to register intent…
And today I’ve contacted the venue to try to work out timings for the day so I can send out invites and schedules.Photo 22-08-2016, 13 56 38
Has anyone moved house close to their wedding day before? (I mean of you ladies reading as oppose to ever in the history of mankind haha)When we change address, it will be after we’ve registered intent etc. We’ll be in the same county, but will we need to contact the Registrar to change address?
I really do need to keep remembering that this is all very exciting. And try not to label it as stressful/ scary etc… I’m prone to anxiety so keeping my head above the water with all this is going to be a challenge… any coping strategies welcome.
At least I’m getting it all out of the way in one go hey?Babies next… haha!
Wow I think you will agree that Our Spring Bride has taken quite a lot on. You can do it Ali! If you missed Ali’s last post click here

Bride To Be Diaries: Our Graceful Bride Talks Readings

 Today we are handing the blog over to our Graceful Bride talks readings. Take it away Vicky.B2B Graceful Banner

 Our Graceful Bride

File 08-06-2016, 19 33 09

Wedding Readings

I had another post all ready and waiting to go but ended up changing my mind to write this in a fit of annoyance and procrastination. I’m currently sitting in a Gatwick hotel with a lovely view over a nondescript roundabout in Crawley and really should be re-reading the Air Asia accident report before finishing my biannual simulator check tomorrow but instead I’m doing the one thing that seems to take up most of my time at the moment, wedding readings! That and flicking through wedding magazines but that’s beside the point, I need the occasional break! File 29-06-2016, 12 15 16See we have a problem, in one weeks time we’re meeting up with the vicar to discuss the order of service for the wedding day and we have nothing! It’s not from lack of trying, I’ve had millions of tabs open for weeks on end full of ideas, my Pinterest really should warrant a new board for them (favourites currently being filed under table plans/signs which annoys the organisational side of me!) but I still don’t know. I think Rob half wants us to write our own for people to read out and whereas he is quite wordy and good at that, I’m not.File 29-06-2016, 12 14 10 Case points being cards for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries etc, his full of lovely heartfelt passages, mine going along the lines of this: To Rob, happy birthday/Christmas/anniversary, lots of love, Vicky. On the other hand I read, a lot, so have so many favourite passages from books and poems that I’d love to have included. Whereas they all mean something to me and I have a connection with them, Rob finds he doesn’t and that he can’t find one that describes the feelings he wants to get across. So we’re struggling. Reading from Phillip Pullman’s Amber Spyglass (one of my all time favourite books), deemed too morbid by my mum. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, too wordy. Edward Monkton’s Lovely Love Story, done by our friends last year. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Us Two (the Winnie the Pooh one), The Velveteen Rabbit, Shakespeare, Bronte etc etc seem to just be done time and time again so just don’t feel special to me personally.File 29-06-2016, 12 15 01
Photo Credit: Edward Monkton
Then you look at poetry, I love some of Pablo Neruda’s but they’re probably a bit risqué. Do you go down the funny route of Pam Ayres and others, do you look to the classics, the choice feels never ending! And don’t even get me started on the biblical side of it! We’re getting married in church so have to have at least one religious reading but so many of them I just don’t like! We’re off to snowdonia for a few days between me finishing down here and seeing the vicar so my current plan is to just drive ourselves nuts reading out as many as I can possibly find in the hope that something clicks, I’m thinking to start in the car on the long drive up as there’s no way to escape then!!File 29-06-2016, 12 14 51
Photo Credit: Timothy Boomer
Some time later….
So after a week of discussions in various parts of Wales, (reading out bible passages sitting on Tan-y-Bwlch railway station getting some odd looks being a personal fave!) and we got there! I think we’ve got a good mix to cover all bases and our vicar seems happy which is good, trouble now though is we’ve ended up with 3 rather than our original plan of 2 so we need to find someone else willing to get up and talk!File 29-06-2016, 12 14 30
 I remember the problems that I had with deciding on which readings to have. Thanks you Graceful Bride for your insight. ~ Kate

Bride to be Diaries: Introducing The Boobless Bride.

Oh my, I cannot tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to introducing this special lady to you all. She had me in tears when I read her entry into our recent competition to find our new Bride-to-be writers. Not only did I want her to write for the blog but I needed to meet her… straight away! We did, hit it off and here we are…

Dawn is an extraordinary woman and she has one hell of a story to tell you. 


Maria x

New Bride To Be Diary

Introducing The Boobless Bride

Last date before chemo

I’m delighted that you will be joining me on my journey from engagement ring to reception. Sharing my laughter, stress and tears – being an eccentric control freak with a creative flair, often with ideas too big for my bank balance – what could possibly go wrong? Eek.

I vowed to myself if I had such an amazing opportunity come my way I would write my blog honestly, from the heart and bare all. The past 5 years have been horrendous and I’m living proof that laughter, positivity and great friends and family can not only get you through – but enable you to have a fairy tale ending (well not ending really, it’s just the start of my new life). So, let’s hope you are not easily offended and enjoy this adventure with me.

It would make sense at this point to tell you a little about me I guess…I’m Dawn, 33, Design Technology teacher in a secondary school in South Wales and am planning my wedding to Stephen, 33 who does something in IT – he has tried to explain it several times but by the time he’s about ten words in I yawn and stop listening – thinking about what I could cook for tea or another idea for the wedding. We got engaged in August, and are planning a wedding in May. But before I tell you our love story I need to give you some background info that makes this, my second marriage equally as important as anyone getting married for the first time.

3 girls

I married my childhood sweetheart at 21 and thought we would be together forever.  Two beautiful girlies later and our family was complete – chaotic, but definitely complete.  Never a dull moment, a house full of laughter.  Then my bubble was well and truly popped!!! BANG!!! When I was 26 he got diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and fell into a deep depression – after 2 years trying to save my marriage it broke down to a point where we were all suffering – particularly the girls – and reluctantly we decided it was best if he moved out.  The sense of guilt was truly incredible – I broke my vows (in sickness and in health), I’d abandoned him in his hour of need.  I knew I had no choice as his behaviour was affecting the children, but it was so hard.  Only someone who has been in this situation could understand the emotions racing through you at every point; guilt, anger, anxiety, disappointment, love, hate, frustration…the list goes on. I went through so many stages of grief – it was like being bereaved but being haunted by his presence.  NEVER, EVER, EVER will I marry again!

I became very lonely and eventually started the singles scene, partying when I didn’t have the girls and dating again.  I hate to be a stereotype but you know what is coming…. yep, I did the cliché rebound much to my own annoyance and had a truly destructive relationship and I sank into depression too.  After counselling and support from my incredible family I picked myself up and after a while decided I was strong enough to rebuild my life.

How I looked when we met

 How we met

Then came the next stage of my cliché…I became desperate, registered with online sites and set out on my mission to find a fella (cringe) – I was worse than good old Bridget Jones, I became the queen of first dates – must have had 20+.  I just genuinely believed that when I met the right guy.. I would just know!!!  My friends teased that I watched too many Disney films but I believed it so badly!!! Sooooo many dates later; I liked them, they didn’t like me or they liked me and I didn’t them – the whole dating thing just becoming so frustrating.  Then I took the decision to delete my online profile and leave it to fate.  As I was logging on to delete it, a guy I had spoken to a while back was online again – I remembered we had chatted but for some reason never met (probably around the time I did my epic rebound boyfriend – fail) so I thought I’d see how he was.  We hit it off straight away – we cross examined each other to see why we never did meet – put it down to wrong timing – just one of those things.  I decided to seize the moment – I’m deleting my profile, if you want to chat you’d best text and handed out my number.  I was introduced to the world of What’s App (life changing moment) and we messaged constantly for a few days.

So… 7th November 2014 there was a knock at the door – and in the doorway a tall, handsome guy with the most beautiful blue eyes.  In true bunny boiler style, I thought… I’ll take him please.  Yep, he’s gorgeous and has old school manners.  Yummy!!!  Our date was incredible; easy, fun, full of laughter and this spark thing people talked about… EXPLOSIVE!!!  This is what I was waiting for.  Date 3 came and went and I knew this was something special.

For our fourth date, he accompanied me to a routine hospital appointment as we’s arranged to go for food after.  Little did I know that the routine examination of a cyst would change our lives forever. I was being rushed for a mammogram, biopsy and I started to get an incredible sense of fear.  What a 4th date… me inconsolable, frightened to death and time just standing still.  A few days later my fears became reality – grade 3, stage 3 breast cancer with significant spreading to lymph nodes… Double mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy to follow with a survival rate of under 10%.  Steve drove to see me, held me so tight and said he knew we were meant to be together and would be by my side through it all.  (I’m not sure if you are crying yet – but I am).

 The Big C

Bad days made great

Where did this angel come from, he came from nowhere and was by my side every single step.  He was there to shave my head before I lost my hair, he put cream on my bed sores during chemo, he led in bed with me the days I was too ill to move, he got me fruit pastilles (my favourite) when I had no taste buds left, he drove me to hospital for every appointment and made me laugh every day, looked after my kids when I was in hospital for 2 weeks, he bathed my wounds when I was weeping, he told me I was beautiful when I stood in front of my mirror with no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows and no boobs and 4 stone heavier from steroids.Kids adding my eyebrowsHe drove my children so see their dad every week as he knew how important that was to me and the girls.  Meaning I still have a great friendship with my girls daddy and can support him as he deteriorates.  This man is just so selfless – he would do anything for me.

My rock when I was bald

In my darkest days he picked me up by talking about the wonderful future we were yet to have together.  He came with me for my scans to see if it had spread during treatment – it all boiled down to this one day.  Against the odds – the big C had disappeared.  Still high risk – but I’ve won this battle with Steve by my side!!!

So…How did we meet?  He is an angel sent from above – he saved my life.

 The Proposal

Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops.  So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time.  I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed.  True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid.  So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls.  8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all.  The proposed proposal - oopsSoaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub.  We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately.  Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.The ring

But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal.  Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall.  Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse.  NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal.  Oops.  But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.

So, that’s the story to date – time to start planning. God help us!

 Huge thanks Dawn. I for one cannot wait to read your next post! This going to be an emotional one for me and i’m so pleased and proud of you for sharing this journey with us all.